Here are five form best practices – they apply to your contact forms. In future articles, we’ll also deal with best practices and tips & tricks for more complex web forms. For now, let’s see how to increase contact form usability.
1. The friendly welcome. Contact forms generate user engagement – this is the first aspect that should be considered with respect to contact forms. And our first form best practice suggestion is that contact forms should be the primary contact option for users. And an option that is handled with patience and care. Use contact forms and use them wisely. Think about their target audience and their purpose and design your contact form accordingly.
Some time ago, when interaction between users and providers used to be less frequent, forms were not a necessity. The contact email address posted somewhere on the website sufficed communication needs. Nowadays, both providers and users initiate communication far more often. And providers know that messages coming from users – mostly irrespective of their content – are good, in that they show users’ interest towards the company. And this leads to an urge for appropriate tools.
From users’ viewpoint, the easiest way to contact a company is via web forms. Build a contact form and users will invest no time in opening their email client or structuring their message. With web forms, everything is plain, simple and elegant. Form fields indicate precisely what information needs to be provided. Which takes us to the second vital aspect: conciseness.
2. Keep forms short & simple. Although you may be thrilled with the high levels of complexity and interactivity your contact form can handle, keep in mind that users are those to whom the form has to appeal. Put yourself in their shoes: What’s better than a classy, friendly and secure form? A SHORT classy, friendly and secure form.
Go straight to the point. Create a web form that sticks to the essential. To begin with, conversion rates will rise. In addition, more of your visitors’ interest will be spared for other pages of your website. The contact form page is usually the most personal one, but it should represent the strongest – and not the only – bond between users and the website.
Define the information categories that you truly need. You can design a contact form that, based on the message subject or other information specified by users, shows form fields previously hidden. For instance, if a user requests support in using your product and ticks a box saying that they would like to be contacted by phone, a phone field can show up. If not, then the phone field would just make the form longer and could distress users.
3. Label placement. Labels can normally be placed above fields or besides them, to the left. When you build a contact form, it is best to place labels on top of fields. Contact forms are one of the shortest types of web forms. Therefore, the fact that top-aligned labels make form height larger should be of no concern in this case. And top-aligned labels have the benefit of helping users’ cover form fields faster.
4. Field type. 123ContactForm provides more than 10 field types. When you build your contact form on professional platforms, make sure to choose the best suited field types. For example, why use a simple text box to get users’ full name when a predefined name field is available, with separate boxes for the first and last names? Users can understand instantly what information is requested, even without reading the field label. Another advantage of predefined fields is that they validate user input and can indicate, if that’s the case, that the input does not meet established criteria, so that users can correct input errors.
5. Easy to get to. Make it extremely easy for website visitors to get to your contact form page. Be sure to include a contact tab in your website menu and to place the contact form first thing on that page. Also, link to your contact form whenever possible and answer all messages. Be enthusiastic about receiving feedback, questions, comments, suggestion and users will be enthusiastic about contacting you.
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